All the news isn’t bad for Niles

Published 12:32 pm Tuesday, June 26, 2007

By Staff
Our only constant is change.
Change has not been kind to Simplicity Pattern of Niles.
It is sad to see the once-booming business – one that employed thousands here, even milled its own paper on which it produced its popular sewing patterns – reduced to closing its operation and outsourcing production and distribution.
While the plant closing will be very difficult for the Simplicity employees who will lose their jobs at the end of the summer, Niles can really count itself among the fortunate.
Yes, we are truly fortunate.
Our community has felt little of the ill effects of the poor Michigan economy, mainly because of our close proximity to Notre Dame and the booming northern Indiana and Chicago markets.
The fact is, many Niles manufacturers are growing their businesses.
For instance:
Modineer, which operates several facilities here, includes one in the Niles Industrial Park engaged in metal stamping, welding and assembly. Four years ago, that plant employed 49 employees. Since then, the company has hired an additional 119, bringing its total employment to 168 at the Industrial Park plant to 168. Total Modineer employment here is at 360. Those are new jobs, not transferred jobs.
Delta Machining in Howard Township produces knifegate valves. Two years ago, its employment was at 65. Today, it's at 85.
Aacoa Extrusions Inc. in Bertrand Crossings began operations here in 1999 with no employees. Today, the company, which is engaged in aluminum extrusion and fabrication, employs about 165.
Niles Steel Tank bought the former Garden City Fan building, where it manufactures ASME pressure vessel tanks. Within the last two years, employment there is up from 24 to 32 employees.
Specialty Products Polymers relocated here from Van Buren Tonwship and immediately purchased the SGF building in the Niles Industrial Park when that company closed. They transferred in with 12 employees and are up to 35 in the last three years.
Despite the dismal news of the closing of Simplicity and United Fixtures, Niles has reason to be optimistic. We're better off than most and indicators are that growth we're experiencing here and in our immediate area will continue.
Let's hope that means workers displaced by the two plant closings will easily find new employment.